1. PROJECT SUMMARY
The international and national data prove that we are currently witnessing an epidemic of diabetes and obesity, and their consequence, cardiovascular disease.
There are clear data that this epidemic arises from a change in traditional life style, which has been replaced by a modern one, characterized by hypercaloric/hyperlipidic food intake, which in association with a drastic decrease in physical activity initially leads to weight gain/obesity, then to diabetes and finally, through it, to cardiovascular disease. This association is well documented epidemiologically, but insufficiently clarified from a pathogenic point of view. The recent recognition that adipose tissue is an active endocrine and metabolic organ, influencing systemic inflammatory state (low grade inflammation), provides new opportunities for investigations that could lead to more effective approaches for preventing and/or treating obesity and its associated disease.
Overall, today is well accepted that diabetes mellitus is a disorder that starts many years before becoming clinically manifested by hyperglycemia, moment in which the decrease of the β-cell mass/function seem to be more than 50% irreversibly lost.
The aim of our project is that of establishing an anatomic-physiological relation between the "pancreatic β cell mass" (on which blood glucose regulation depends) and "adipose tissue mass", to identify new markers for an earlier diagnosis of diabetes, before the occurrence of decompensation of blood glucose regulation. The final goal is to use these markers in order to identify new therapeutically and prevention solutions.